Planning, Development & Wagga's Heritage
Council's endeavour in building and planning is to promote development while preserving the ambiance of the area along with its Historical Heritage. Council's role in planning and building is to check that all projects conform with regulations such as the Wagga Wagga Local Environmental Plan 2010, Wagga Wagga Development Control Plan 2010 and the Building Code of Australia.
Development and maintenance guidelines for residential properties located within the Wagga Wagga Conservation Area or identified as Items of Environmental Heritage can be accessed below.
Heritage Adviser's Guide for Colours
Colours should complement the best traditional colour schemes in conservation areas.
What is a "Heritage" Colour?
"Heritage" colours are modern paint manufacturers' approximations of traditional paint formulations. A heritage colour is part of a colour scheme appropriate to the historic period of the building. Traditionally, paints were tinted with naturally occurring mineral pigments, in colours to represent natural stone. Early NSW buildings were painted in the yellow ochre to salmon and brown hues of Sydney sandstone. This practice was also followed with timber weatherboard buildings. Ironwork was painted in a small range of deep greens, browns and reds. Joinery trim was painted in similar colours, though the range was wider, and extended to cream. At the end of the 19th century, red brick and terracotta tiles became the preferred materials for walls and roofs. The fashion was so strong that it resulted in painting timber walls and iron roofs in deep reds to imitate the preferred materials. Whitewash was used in very early buildings, but the all-over white exteriors and very light pastel shade interiors are a recent trend. Internally, hallways were painted in stone-like colours and finishes, dating back to the days of horse-drawn vehicle entrances. Bedrooms and parlours were decorated in soft feminine shades. Dining and living rooms had darker colours. Room colours were graded from the darkest at the floor to the lightest at the ceiling. Friezes and cornices were often decorated. To paint over old lime plaster, Porter's Lime Wash may be used to reproduce the effect of limewashed interiors. Boncote Cement Paint produces a similar effect on cement or concrete. Interiors are outside council planning policy, unless they are in a heritage listed public building.
What do Heritage Colours Look Like?
Before mass manufacture of paint, tradesmen mixed the paints on site using a trade recipe. A typical recipe was a mineral oxide powder colour, mixed with a binder, such as linseed oil. As a result, most available colours tended to be "earthy" in tone and the paints were flat in appearance, with accent colours in Indian Red, Brunswick Green and Eau-de-Nil. Some periods, notably Art Deco in the 1930s, used a range of bright colours. In most cases, however, heritage colours have come to mean a muted, earthy colour range, reproduced in a manner that is in harmony with the best examples of repainted historic buildings in the area. A heritage colour scheme will only specify a colour where it was used on a particular type of surface. For example, accent colours that were used for small areas of timber trim, would have never been
used on walls. Inaccurate use of paint colours on a historic building can create a false impression of history. The most common mistakes among historic building owners are the use of too many colours, the use of the right colours in the wrong places, or the picking out of features such as mouldings that were never historically treated in this way. Heritage colours applied to contemporary structures creates confusion. These colours should complement, rather than copy, historical examples.
Methods of Creating a Heritage Colour Scheme
There is no one best method. Any method is "best" if it is well liked by the community, and if it does not date quickly. The aim of any method is to balance two opposites: attention drawn to the individual building; and harmony with the rest of the streetscape.
1. Traditional heritage adviser's method.
For places of particular significance that have later paint schemes applied, it may be possible to reconstruct an earlier painting scheme based upon original research and evidence, using well analysed paint scrapes. Paint layers are removed form test areas, recorded and matched up with a manufacturer's paint chart. To do this you need paint stripper, safety gloves and goggles, a paint scraper, gloves, a rag and bucket with water. As you scrape back each layer, identify and write down the colours, until you reach the original substrate. Be warned that as many as 20 coats of paint may be found on buildings over a century old. Also, in some cases, a microscope is required to differentiate between undercoats, primers and finishing coats.
2. Reference book method.
If it is not possible to determine the original scheme, or the scheme is not considered desirable, the second preferred approach should be to use colours appropriate for the period, in a traditional manner. This might mean using early photographs to determine where light and dark colours were used, and picking appropriate colours that relate to the period of construction/style for those areas. A colour scheme may be reproduced from a reference book that contains researched examples of historic buildings and the colours in which they were decorated.
3. Paint manufacturer's chart method.
A manufacturer's chart of colours claimed to be "heritage colours", or traditional colours for a particular period, is used to provide guidance on colour selection. Paint manufacturers also try to draw in customers by inserting non-traditional colours into heritage colour charts.
4. Free interpretation method.
A contemporary fashion colour scheme is made using colours commonly found in buildings of a similar era, a method more suited to recent infill or commercial rather than historic buildings.
In most cases the following colours will not be acceptable in Heritage Conservation Areas:
This was the standard interior and exterior colour of the 1970s, but was rarely used over large areas in earlier historic periods. It is no longer popular because its effect is so stark. Off-whites, such as Colorbond Surfmist and Dulux Lime White also fall into this category.
2. Blues and purples
These colours are currently undergoing a vogue; are likely to date quickly and are often at odds with traditional colour schemes. Their use was limited to small areas of joinery or sign lettering. Note that in both editions of Colour Schemes for Old Australian Houses there is only one mention of a blue (Sky Blue used on a door panel of a Queenslander house). Hence blues are not acceptable for external colour schemes, except perhaps in very limited areas of trim such as brackets or door panels, but certainly not on fascias, barges, fences and the like.
How to Propose a Heritage Colour Scheme
Here are useful tips for specifying a heritage colour scheme for your next Development Application or Minor Works Application.
Find out the era of your building and what colours were used at that time. You may investigate further by scraping back layers of paint on your building, but in most cases this is not required. Obtain heritage advice if you are not certain. Visit a paint shop to be informed.
Select colours as a scheme to produce a co-ordinated effect. You might choose colours suited to the era of your building from heritage paint charts. Books such as Colour Schemes for Old Australian Houses will give colour details of some buildings that have been researched.
Test pots for the selected colours (available from paint shops) are the best means of testing out your scheme. Paint samples onto actual areas of the building to be repainted, then view the scheme from some distance away, say across the street, to gauge the final effect.
Determine and write down the era of the building. Provide a colour photograph. When specifying colours, provide the name of the paint company from where the colours have been selected. A variety of paint companies produce heritage colour charts, which can be collected from paint and hardware stores. At times, if you wish to avoid repetition of colours from a heritage chart, then a blend between two colours from a heritage range might be acceptable. Other heritage colours might be acceptable when lightening with half-strength tint, or darkening by doubling the tint. Note that all paints should be in a flat or low-sheen finish (unless high gloss enamel is required for an external timber surface subject to high wear). Australian Standard No. 2311 should be used as a general guide to exterior painting of buildings.
5. Produce a coloured sample.
To show how your colour scheme operates in detail, you will need to provide a colour photograph (as a black and white image is of little use for showing colours) with painted areas marked up, or numbered from a list of colours. For a small fee, paint shops using Haymes software can produce a mock-up on a digital photograph that shows how a colour scheme will appear on your building. This is also useful for presenting your proposal to Council.
Surfaces Not to Paint: Brickwork
One prime guideline for conserving historic buildings is that brickwork or stonework that has not previously been painted, must not be painted. Painting of brickwork is practically an irreversible process (i.e. once painted, it is very difficult to remove). Preservation of face brick will ensure that future owners who are sympathetic to heritage values are able to preserve and reinstate a historic building. Red brick is important to the character of many heritage conservation areas.
Cottage Extension Guide
Heritage Adviser's Guide for Extensions to Cottages
Traditional solutions are a good guide for extensions to cottages.
10 Designer's tips:
- Use historically accurate shapes and styles. It is historically confusing to install aluminium multi-paned "French colonial" glazing into a 1950s cottage that originally had double-hung windows.
- Extensions should be "in character", rather than attempt to exactly mimic the original cottage.
- Avoid "blending" the roof of the extension with the original. There should be a visual break between the original cottage roof and new roofs.
- Extensions should have subtle differences in detail from the original, so that a visual inspection would reveal the evolution of the building.
- If the block is large enough, say a double-length block, then rear additions might be a separate building, joined by a link to the original cottage.
- If the block is small, say a bungalow on a minimum-sized cottage block, then the rear additions might be joined to the cottage, covered by a separate pitched roof ("bastard" valleys may be used instead of a box gutter), or partly separated by a small skillion roof.
- Historic building elements (e.g. carved verandah posts) are often used as templates for new replacements. In such cases, the replica is usually date stamped with the year of manufacture, for future identification.
- Garages and sheds are important elements on a cottage block. They should be carefully designed to complement, but not dominate, the original cottage.
- Use the heritage adviser's guide notes for colours, roofing and garages.
- Other design items are best discussed with the heritage adviser at the preliminary design stage, not after the DA has been completed.
16 Typical notes to use on drawings:
- Window and door frames to match existing in timber or "magnum" section aluminium.
- Brickwork to match existing in colour, texture and bond.
- Timber fascias.
- Verandah extended using exact templates of the existing verandah timbers.
- Drain box gutter to rainwater head and 90 diam downpipe, over a grated sump.
- New eave detail to match existing. Refer 1:10 detail.
- Verandah framing hollow section steel in typical timber sizes. Refer 1:10 detail.
- Custom orb profile galvanised finish roof, pitch 27 deg.
- Gutters ogee profile galv, downpipes 90 diam galv.
- Roll ridge and roll fascia cap.
- Windows to match original in size and proportion. Refer window list.
- Garage door tilt-type with treated timber vertical boarding.
- Cover movement joint with new rainwater head and downpipe.
- Replace rotted weatherboards in matching profile treated timber boards.
- Colour scheme. Hayme's range as follows. Fascias: Indian Red, low sheen. Etc.
- Remove paint from brick wall using Peelaway 6, Peelway 9, then paint stripper.
How cottages were traditionally extended
Most Australian cottages were constructed as one or two-roomed houses and grew through the addition of extra rooms as they were needed. The sequential, additive nature of this evolution is quite obvious externally. Rooms have simply been added under new individual roofs butted up against the old; or as separate pavilions connected by covered ways to the existing house. None of the individual new forms is so large as to dominate the others or disjoint the whole ensemble. The later rooms have usually been added to the rear, so as not to challenge the prominence of the front entry section of the house. The hierarchy of spaces is clear, and their detailing reflects this.
When these houses that have grown incrementally are looked at more closely, subtle differences often show the staged nature of their construction. Windows and doors, though similar in overall form and proportion, are often different in minor detail. The use of a range of traditional building materials can also reinforce the illustration of the process of growth, without detracting from the harmony of the extended structure.
Using tradition as a guide
Simple, but important lessons can be drawn from these observations regarding the relative importance of form, details and materials. Additions to a small building need not destroy its essential "smallness". It is in this area of scale that most of today's cottage extensions fail. Guidance for new work can be readily drawn from traditional solutions, offering a broad range of potential approaches to our contemporary space problems with cottages. However, there also has to be recognition of the circumstances where too much is being asked and the owner should move to a larger, more suitable house, rather then ruin a good cottage.
Some worst failures of cottage extensions are those where new additions dominate or overwhelm the original building (whose qualities presumably attracted its owner in the first instance). As community heritage and sensitivity to amenity increases, planning regulations are more frequently structured to preclude inappropriately scaled alterations. After all, the scale and intactness of a cottage are often among the reasons for its local recognition. It is nearly always possible to provide reasonable additional space for a cottage by employing extensions of a traditional form: an extra room or rooms under individual hip or gabled roofs or a separate detached "pavilion" structure of carefully considered scale and form related to the original building. These modifications need not entail dramatic domination, alteration or loss of important fabric in the building. The roof is an especially important design element. Traditional roof forms should be used, together with historically accurate roof pitches, eave overhangs and veranda roofs.
Garages and sheds
When many of Australia's cottages were built, ownership of private personal conveyances, whether sulkies or station wagons, was not universal. Frequently, no provision was made for their storage. The importance of the car in modern life, its increasing value not only in financial terms but as evidence of (real or affected) affluence sees more emphasis placed on stabling the possession that, in magnitude of investment, often comes next after the house itself.
Whereas service structures like sheds for buggies and the early "motor-houses" for cars were once discreetly placed to the rear, the front garden in many cottages today is taken over by a carport or garage which challenges the scale of the principal building on the site. Lately, it has become practice for the garage to adopt decorative features from the house it serves, in order to blend in. At times, these service structures have been over-emphasised. In situations where two or more vehicles must be accommodated, the cottage behind can become completely obscured. In a street of cottages with similar setbacks from the footpath and garden frontages, the intrusion of new garaging can be disastrous for its overall appearance.
Traditionally, service buildings did not challenge the predominance of the building they served; a certain deference to the main building was discernible. Many contemporary garage structures would be better off for this approach, reflecting more of the comparative simplicity of many Victorian and Edwardian outbuildings.
Heritage Adviser's Tips for Drawing
Drawings provided with a Development Application (DA) should follow normal drafting conventions. Also, more detail may be required for work in conservation areas than for general work. Some of the most common drafting oversights are noted below.
- Show a north point on every site plan and every floor plan.
- Include a bar scale as well as a standard numerical scale on every drawing, as drawings are likely to be photocopy reduced or enlarged.
- Represent walls with some thickness, even if a metal shed. Depicting a wall as a single line leads to confusion.
- Call elevations by their compass direction (north, south; not left, right etc).
- Draw all elevations.
- Drawings of any new building should include at least one section.
- Draw natural and finished ground levels with a thick line on elevations. If finished level is different, then natural ground can be shown dotted or with a thinner line, and noted.
- For roofs of extensions, draw an existing roof plan, and a proposed roof plan.
- Label the roof pitch on the section and/or elevations.
- Note with arrows all external materials and finishes, on at least the street- facing elevation.
- Note visible exterior building components on the elevations. Examples are roll cap ridge, roll cap fascia, quad gutter, 90 diameter downpipes, rainwater head, timber fascias, roof vent, exposed rafter ends.
- Show window types and dimensions on elevations. Special features e.g. double glazing, obscure glazing or tinting should be clearly marked on the elevations.
- Any special or ornamental feature (e.g. roof vent, dormer window, timber fretwork) should be shown on a separate construction detail noting all materials and sizes.
- Eaves need to be dimensioned. Draw a detail if they are to be an older style.
- Provide the colour scheme on the drawing. It can be a table listing each external feature, manufacturer's name, colour name and gloss level (eg Gable decorative trim: Haymes "Indian Red", low sheen).
- For landscape plans, note the plant selection, size of plants, paving and other ground surface treatments and colours, edging, retaining wall types and heights, fencing elevations and irrigation arrangements if any. Landscaping can be used to solve important engineering and energy efficiency problems and vague blobs on plans do not represent "landscaping".
- Draw formal landscape designs for formal styled buildings and freeform landscape designs for organic shaped buildings.
Heritage Adviser's Guide for Fences
Fences should be designed so as to complement the best traditional fences in established areas.
Why Fences are Important
The character of established residential areas is predominantly set by:
- Single-storey, pitched-roof residential development.
- Numerous examples of revitalised older style cottages (including weatherboard and "fibro").
- Tranquil surroundings.
- Street tree avenues.
- Established, open front gardens.
The best characteristic of the area is a community feel, created by views out to the street through open front gardens. This allows a degree of community interaction. Fences are a vital part of this architectural landscape. Historically, front fences were of a height and style that permitted a view into and out of the property, while side and back fences were higher and more solid to ensure privacy. High front walls in urban areas are a recent phenomenon, encouraged by a desire for privacy and a perception of the need for greater security. Note that Neighbourhood Watch and the police advise against fences that don't permit visual access from the street. Desired fences for the area may be contrasted against higher density urban development, where privacy and security are more important than community.
Sufficient evidence can often be pieced together from surviving relics and old photographs. There is no substitute for research: the best fence for an old building is a replica of the one it originally had. Original and significant fences should be retained and repaired where possible. Fences should not reproduce historical detail from other periods ("mock heritage"). Simple cottage fences of timber pickets or woven wire should not be replaced with "fancy" styles. Some early styles were:
- Victorian (1840s–1901). Timber pickets with chamfered posts and plinths; iron spears set on a bluestone or rendered brick plinth; or capped corrugated iron with timber posts. Fences were constructed with various levels of embellishment and were generally painted. The Victorian preference for decoration led to Gothic or acorn-topped shapes. Pseudo-Victorian fences embellishing new housing estates add to historical confusion.
- Edwardian (1902-1918). Continued the tradition of the Victorian timber picket fence, but also introduced variations. Timber pickets tended to be plain, the only decoration being chamfered edges or incised motifs in the posts. Red brick fences displayed bull nose and splayed edges, and recessed or open panels. Woven wire and scrolled ironwork fences also became popular.
- Between the wars (1919-1939). "Cyclone" chain-link or twisted wire fences and gates sometimes incorporated galvanised pipe rails and timber plinths and posts and simple geometric ironwork gates. Solid fences, face brick or stucco, were low and matched the design of the house in the use of materials.
Fences should be in character with the style in which the house was built. Low timber picket fences and simple low brick pier type fences with pipe and mesh inserts predominate. Side and rear fences were generally 1500 high timber palings or corrugated galvanised sheets.
Why Colorbond Fences are a Problem
A special problem is posed by the recent introduction of 1.8m high solid metal deck fences (Colorbond fences) into older parts of the city to provide privacy and reduce noise levels. The material, height and colour of these fences is in most cases unsuitable, because they disrupt the streetscape and are not in character with the style in which the house was built. Privacy can be increased with shutters and strategic landscaping. Noise levels can be reduced with sound insulating materials in the house.
What Fences are Suitable?
General design points are:
- Where possible, fence replacement should be "like with like", for example a new paling fence would replace an old paling fence of the same height.
- Side and rear fences should be 1500 high timber palings, unless there are compelling reasons to use some other kind of fence.
- If there is a requirement for metal fencing, then unpainted galvanised corrugated fences (not Zincalume), supported with a line of irrigated shrubs, are preferable to Colorbond metal fencing. If a Colorbond fence is used, then a suitable colour should be selected so as to blend in better with nearby paling fences. Woodland Grey and Plantation are suitable colours.
- Side fencing should only extend as far as the front wall of the building, generally the 6m building line. Fencing between the building line and front boundary should match the front fence, in a style sympathetic to the house.
- Front fencing should be designed to follow the best examples in the area. If adjoining houses were built at the same time as the subject property, then their fences may be a guide to good design.
- Front fences should be no higher than 1.2m and should be transparent, supporting hedge or vine planting if further privacy or security is desired.
- High solid masonry front fences (with or without attempts at "softening" by shrub planting outside the fence, inserts of open panels, wall indents etc) are unsuitable, because they are an import from urban environments where privacy and security are more important than community and views.
A popular modern style with limited historical validity has timber pickets separated by brick piers. It is actually a combination of two historical styles of fence (the timber picket type, and the brick piers with pipe and wire mesh type).
Because various domestic architectural styles are found in street, each fencing proposal should be weighed on its own merits. The heritage advisor is available for consultation on site, to help you design your fence.
Metal Garage Guide
Heritage Adviser's Advice for Metal Garages
In order to blend unobtrusively with their surrounding architectural landscape, garages should be sized and detailed to complement the best elements of traditional architecture in conservation areas.
- Traditionally, garages matched the materials of the house. If the house was corrugated iron, the garage was corrugated iron. If the house was "fibro", then the garage was "fibro". If the house was brick, then the garage was brick.
- Matching of materials needs to be detailed on the drawings. In a brick garage, for example, the brick bond and exposed rafters should match that of the house, not just the colour.
- Garages were generally not built attached to the house, but were freestanding structures.
- Blue, purple and white were not used in traditional colour schemes during the first half of the twentieth century and in most cases are not acceptable colours in Conservation Areas.
- A garage/carport beside a cottage and fronting the street is generally not suitable.
In most cases the following specification will be acceptable in Heritage Conservation Areas:
- Custom Orb profile walls and roof (0.47 base metal thickness).
- Galvanised roof (not Zincalume).
- Roof pitch 27 degrees (quarter pitch) or steeper if to match roof pitch of house. Roof pitches can be broken with a 10 -12.5 degree pitch verandah skillion.
- Roll barge and roll top.
- Gutters quad or ogee profile, galvanised.
- Downpipes galvanised, 90mm diameter round in profile. Preferably, they should terminate 200mm over a grated sump for easier clearing of blockages, or drain to a galv water tank.
- Traditional garage doors were vertical boarded "barn" type swing doors. New garage doors may be tilt doors with treated timber vertical boarding, to resemble traditional doors. If not seen from the street, then roller doors might be acceptable.
- Max size of garages: Single garage – 3000mm wide x 7500mm long, 2400mm walls, 27 degree roof pitch rising to an apex 3400mm high. Garage roller door 2600mm wide. Double garage – 6000mm wide x 7500mm long, 2400mm walls, 27 degree roof pitch rising to an apex 3900mm high. Two roller doors 2600mm wide in 3 equal wall bays.
- Doors and windows in traditional proportions i.e. closely match the best design proportions of older style doors and windows in the surrounding area.
- If metal-framed doors or windows are used, then metal architraves should also be used.
- Rainwater heads are recommended for linking gutters with downpipes.
- Drawings should note the detail of the above items as well as wall height and colour.
Preferred colour scheme for metal garages:
- Galvanised roof, gutters, downpipes.
- Galvanised walls.
- Natural anodised window frames.
- Galvanised metal architraves.
- Tilt door with vertical timber boarding, painted Woodland Grey.
Alternative colour scheme for metal garages:
- Galvanised roof, gutters, downpipes.
- Walls Colorbond Woodland Grey.
- Tilt door with vertical timber boarding, windows, doors and metal architraves for windows in Manor Red.
Typical specification for lean-to carport:
- Steel posts for carport.
- Roof min. pitch 12.5 degrees in Custom Orb profile.
- Posts 100x100 min., beam 200x50 min., rafters 150x50 min., whether in RHS or timber.
- Gutters quad, galv. Downpipes 90 diam galv.
- Front and sides to have similar ornamentation to house, e.g. porch fretwork/bracing.
Heritage Adviser's Guide for Roofing
In order to blend unobtrusively with their surrounding architectural landscape, roofs should be finished, pitched and detailed in ways that complement the best elements of traditional architecture in the heritage conservation area.
Choosing the right Finish
- Colorbond.This paint finish is glossy when new, but it becomes chalky after some years of exposure. In some instances this finish has failed badly. In most cases, it is unacceptable for heritage projects. A precedent has been set for the use of Colourbond roofing and can be considered in certain circumstances. However, galvanised is the preferred option.
- Zincalume.State heritage authorities do not accept this silvery aluminium-based coating for heritage projects because it does not achieve the grey steel patina that is characteristic of galvanising.
- Galvanised.This finish has a textured surface with an even grey colour. The finish has been used for the past 150 years and is the coating used to protect structural steel, reinforcing and fencing wire because it performs very well under harsh conditions. Fielders Roofing guarantee their galvanised product and double galvanise their roofing sheets for approximately the cost of Colorbond. It has better thermal performance, durability and colour fastness than Colorbond. In most cases, galvanised will be the acceptable metal roof finish for Conservation Areas and heritage conservation projects.
Typical Drawing Notes
In most cases the following specification will be acceptable in Heritage Conservation Areas:
- Custom Orb profile (0.47 base metal thickness).
- Galvanised (not Zincalume).
- Roof pitch 27 degrees (quarter pitch) or steeper if to match existing roof pitches. Roof pitches may be broken with a 10 -12.5 degree pitch verandah skillion.
- Roll barge and roll top.
- Gutters quad or ogee profile, galvanised.
- Downpipes galvanised, 90mm diameter round in profile. They may be flaunched at ground level, but preferably terminate over a grated sump for easier clearing of blockages.
- Rainwater heads, if simple in design, are suitable for linking gutters with downpipes.